SECRETS’ CORNER – Rekindling the flame
EVEN IN UNIONS between the most caring of couples, the intensity of their affection for each other appears to lessen.
It is not that they don’t love each other anymore, or have grown tired of each other, it’s just that they don’t constantly interact in the same manner. This could be due to increased demands on their time by their children, at the workplace, or in their sports club, social organisations or church.
Whatever the reason, this apparent lessening of intensity results in their spending less time with their partner and sometimes displaying less affection.
This does not necessarily mean they are no longer in love with their partner, or that they are bored with the relationship, or even that they are having an affair. It may just be a phase they’re going through.
So when the hugs and “pecks” decrease, and sometimes stop, the best thing to do is not to complain about it but try to gently engage your partner on what may be going on in their lives that they might want to share. By getting him/her to talk about these things, you may be surprised to learn how the demands on their time had quietly increased to such an extent that they would prefer to sleep or have quiet moments alone rather than spend the little time they have with you.
Decades ago, this situation used to occur more with men as they were the primary breadwinners in their families and were always on the go. But with the dramatic rise in the number of women in the workplace, men increasingly complain about this lack of attention from their spouse.
We suspect this week’s question (called in by a reader) – How can I get my wife to show greater affection for me? – could arise out of such a situation.
In a brief chat, the man said of his partner: “I love her because she is trustworthy and I have no regrets about marrying her.”
To a question on their relationship, he said: “That’s okay, but I love to talk, cuddle, hug and kiss and she is not into that, though she did do a little of it when we were courting.”
We did not get the chance to find out such things as how long they have been married, their ages, if they have children, if they both work, if they have financial challenges. We did get a sense, though, that this man was concerned that a gap was developing between him and his spouse, and he earnestly wanted advice to fix it before it gets worse.
Though there is a lack of information on this couple, the key ingredients to developing and maintaining a strong bond in a relationship are still applicable. Foremost among these is communication. Couples who don’t communicate well are usually in a perennial battle to combat seeming drifts away from each other.
Of course, many times when one spouse asks their partner to discuss an issue with them, and they are told something that hurts them, they get angry. If that has occurred between a couple before, don’t be surprised if she prefers not to talk, and instead tells you that everything is fine. If that’s how it is between you, you need to take time to regain her confidence. You will also have to show her that you are able to listen without getting upset.
What needs to be remembered too is that even the best of romances can get stuck in a rut, and the longer a couple have been living together the greater the chance of that happening. So one should regard such an occurrence not as a problem, but rather as an obstacle to be avoided or overcome.
You need to honestly confront yourself and determine if you have altered your behaviour to such an extent that you have changed from the person she fell in love with. If you can do this, the flames of your romance would continue to roar even if you have been married for a very long time.
The following are edited versions of comments:
• “Learn how to make her laugh and smile. If you warm her heart up, then you will get the affection that you are looking for.”
• “I’m a woman and I like my man to show me affection. I thrive on it. She likes that too. So sit her down and find out where it when wrong.”
• “Ask her how she feels toward you and your affections? Not many people are affectionate by nature and I am one. But I promise you, if her heart is touched [by your] meeting all her desires, then returning your love will be like breathing! Read Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. As a husband, you will see your wife in a whole new light. God bless!”
• “Instead of you talking, try listening more.”
• “Could her affections be going elsewhere?”
•“Try something different, like giving her a body massage or painting her nails.”
•“Do something she likes doing. Try to remember when she used to be cuddly and what time she felt close to you, and seek to revive those times.”